We did so much in Sydney over our 2 week stay! We rode the famous Manly ferry into the Sydney Harbor, walked around the Sydney Opera House, walked under the Harbor Bridge, through the Royal Botanical Gardens, viewed the Gothic style Government house, explored Hyde Park including Archibald Fountain, Anzac Memorial, and breathtaking St. Mary's Cathedral. We studied Sydney's convict past at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum and Sydney's criminal past at the Police and Justice Museum. The Rocks, Sydney's oldest area holding much of its history was one of our favorite places to spend time. Cadman's Cottage, The Great Archaeological Dig, Discovery Rocks Museum, and the original Sydney Observatory point under the bridge where a few of the highlights. After walking long days and hours of reading fascinating information Sydney's oldest pub located in the Rocks was a great place to have an unwinding beer. China town, Darling Harbor, Maritime Museum, Noodle Nights at the Sydney Food Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art are some of the other areas of town and museums that we were able to visit. Sydney is beautiful and I enjoyed thoroughly every minute we spent in the hustle and bustle. It was clean, filled with interesting history, surrounded by water, and of course kind people everywhere. We are exhausted and looking forward to getting back in a tent one with nature as we travel south to Melbourne Australia.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
We were camping in Narooma and met some fun Australians (Matt & Ruby). It was the best campsite yet b/c it was right on the beach and we spotted so many whales from our chairs. Enjoy the video:
Two nights later we all went south to Pambula. Matt told us there would be lots of kangaroos but we had no idea what we were in for. There were tons everywhere!! Kristen and I were making lunch and they attacked! Luckily Mikey was filming. Here you go:
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Well we made it to the lower Hunter Valley where we will be taking our first wine tasting tour! We are staying in the lovely Valley Vineyard Tourist Park located in Cessnock. Our tour will be picking us promptly at 9:50am from our camp ground. We are excited and already surrounded with the spirit of wine country as our camp site is right next to grapevines and cows.
Our Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tour Bus was a Mercedes, nicest car we have been in in a long time!! It was right on time and ended up being a full bus of 14 passengers, all around our age. We had a full day of 6 wineries, cheese and olive tasting, lunch at a Winery/Brewery, and ended the day with a chocolate shop tasting. Not a bad day at all and our group was full of energy adding to the entire experience.
The pictures below will speak for themselves!!
Tempest Two Winery
Blueberry Hill Winery
Lunch at McGuinnens
Yes we are drinking beers on a wine tour??!!
and we are eating packed lunches:)
Draytons Family Wines
Love Kristen and the Gang!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Newcastle is New South Wales 2nd largest city. The biggest being Sydney!! We stopped for one night only in Newcastle and what a beautiful history filled surprise this town turned out to be. It is know for all of its convict history including Convict lumbar yards
and Convict built ocean baths.
After driving around the city for about an hour looking for a caravan park we realized that there were none in the city but that we had to drive 20 minutes out to Stockton, an island overlooking the city, which had a camp site. It reminded me of Staten Island to New york City.
We immediately hopped the ferry
for a short 10 minute ride into the city. We walked around a little to get our bearings and stopped off after a long day of traveling at The Great Northern Hotel for a beer. We walked into music trivia night and were handed a sheet. We were "Team Gary "for no reason at all and all put our heads together to try and win this thing. We felt we did really good but unfortunately came in a disappointing 3rd place. We headed home on the ferry to our very WINDY and COLD campsite and called it a night.
The next day we packed up camp, made breakfast, and drove into the city for some more sightseeing during the day. We saw the Customs house
and Nobby Beach
These are all distinct landmarks that have very interesting tales that make up this cities enticing history.
After about 2 hours of sightseeing we were back in the car and on our way to the long awaited Hunter Valley for a wine tasting tour!!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
We have been so busy on this road trip! I want to update the blog every second because there is so much we are doing and seeing.
After leaving Dorrigo we stopped off for a night in Port Macquarie, another harbor city on the east coast. It was a smaller Coffs harbor without the "Big Banana"!! We found a nice caravan park south of the city at Lighthouse Beach where we could digest our Dorrigo experience.
We woke early the next morning for our drive to Boodi Boodi National Park. A National Park with the ocean on one side and lakes on the other making it a unique spot. We found our campsite at Elizabeth Beach near famous Boomerang Beach
where the guys got to surf! Jenny and I took a nice hike through the headland and were quite enjoying it until we realized that it led us to a nude beach! Whoops. We definitely hiked out faster than we hiked in.
After a good nights sleep in our quiet caravan park we packed the Falcon once again and headed out early to sightsee more in this area. Our first sight was Smith's Lake , which is part of Myall Lakes National Park bordering Boodi Boodi. We then ventured to Seal Rocks which offered views of a lifetime. We also took the 300m walk up to Sugarloaf Lighthouse
overlooking seal rocks. The lighthouse was built because so many boats were unable to see the large rocks, Seal Rocks,
that lie scattered along the coast.
This lighthouse was laid out much different than our Byron Bay Lighthouse. It was much smaller and I found it more interesting and intricate in its build. It used to house numerous of the lighthouse employs and even had a school and a kitchen. Those buildings are still there but are now cottages that can be rented for $2000 a week. A little out of our budget!
Well, we are on our way again! Out of the woods of the national park and to Newcastle, New South Wales 2nd largest city!!
Friday, October 1, 2010
We are on the road moving south to Sydney! Our first stop was Coffs Harbour, a 3 hr drive from Lennox. Coffs Harbour was an interesting city that is noted for its Big Banana statue and of course the harbor that the city is built on. The Big Banana represents all the Banana plants that are located in this area. The Harbor was beautiful as expected!
We couldn't find a caravan park we liked in the city so we drove a few minutes out of town and found a nice quiet beach town, Sawtell, where we would set up camp. It was just what we needed after a long drive and the hustle and bustle of Coffs. We are officially back in the tent!
Our next stop was west of Coffs where we stayed in the town of Dorrigo. Dorrigo is located on the Great Dividing Range, a huge mountain range that separates the lush rainforest coast from the arid desert to the west. To get to Dorrigo we drove along Waterfall Way which was beautiful. Farmland, forest, waterfalls, and cute old western towns lined the streets.
Soon after arriving, we found out that you cannot actually camp in the National Park but at a place called Dangar Falls Lodge owned by Bill Gibson and Family. We did not know what we were getting into when we had to approach the owners house, a true farm house, and ask them if we can camp on the land in front of Dangar Lodge. Betty, Bills wife, answered the door and said that that would be fine to set up our tents in front of the lodge for 20$ a night! Awesome and we get to use the showers and bathrooms located below the lodge.
We drove to our spot and what a VIEW!!!
We overlooked rolling hills of farmland and in the far distance was Dorrigo Plateau. Cows mooed from every direction and right by us was the huge Dangar Falls! We were truly in for a treat. After setting up, Bill, the owner of the farmland, came by to meet us and check that we found everything. Nice man and the guys had a few other great conversations with him throughout our stay.
We took the 20 minute climb down to Dangar Falls,
a falls that was created from a volcano that erupted 20 miles from here. We were staying on a fault line! The guys went for a daring dip into the glacier water. We watched!!
Dinner on the grills, a camp fire by the moonlight, and no one around but us. We all felt this was something like a dream.
The following morning we woke to lots of flying bugs, harmless we come to find out, but annoying. I guess that is what you get in an open farm field with the sun shining! We packed for the day and were on our way to Dorrigo National Park and Rainforest Center. The Rainforest Center had some great information and pictures on the nature of a rainforest and of course on the indigenous plants and animals. We then made our way out on the skywalk overlooking the park.
It was amazing. Next on the agenda was the Wonga walk, a 5.4 km walk to Crystal and Tristania Falls. Yellow Carrabean, Walking Stick Palms, The Stinging Tree, Jurassic Park Vines, The Red Cedar, and The Gum tree were some of the 80 foot 200 year old trees that we passed. They warn you to watch out for the "leech" that is harmless but does often cling on. We all hoped that we did not encounter this leech and we made it out clear! The Stinging tree was also something to be aware of. The leaves have tiny furs on them that will sting the skin and last for weeks returning out of the blue. Fun Stuff!
Crystal Falls was our first stop.
If I could describe the perfect waterfall this would be it. It was crystal clear water in a thin line sprinkling into a tiny rock pool. It looked inviting and MIkey took the invitation. He said the water was ice cold so we all decided to stay dry and watch from the rocks.
Tristania Falls was much bigger and more water but still exciting. No one swam :) The walk took us about 3 hours. We had a blast and felt one with nature and satisfied with our waterfall experience. So back to the camp site it was. It was quite windy on the ridge that we stayed on so we all BUNDLED and had our fire going before dark. Tomorrow, off again to Port Macquarie, another harbor city on the east coast.